Feeding calves for weaning/ holding

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I'm looking in to a better system for weaning/holding calves. We have a combination of drought, now freeze, and other things going on that would warrant weaning early or even kind of backgrounding to hold calves. Usually with heifers it's mainly hay and grass with small amounts of feed initially to help switch over. It is rarely on a large scale, or in these conditions. Labor has always been a big issue with feeding too much, especially daily.

My question is has any one had luck with any kind of free choice feed with limiters?

I'm talking to co-ops and mills in the area about different option. I'm getting recommendations all the way from creep feeds to accuration mixes.

So far I have a co-op offering either a creep feed or and 80/20 accuration mix, both are "their" mixes. I'm not sure about startling weaning calves out right on the acc. It seems like trying to transition from creep to acc could be tough. Both feeds are running about $0.19/lb that includes 4 ton feeders and they come out and refill them. They are going to send me labels on those next week.

Interested in suggestions or experiences with some thing like this, both good and bad.
 
Quite a few smaller operators are feeding salt limited pellets. Never have here but know it is successful.
 
I've done it a couple years now. Started creep feed ten days to two weeks before weaning,then put an accusation type feed in self feeder and weaned. Nice thing was even going through weather changes or blizzards they never went off feed. Calves would visit the feeder many times a day but only eat a couple mouthfuls at a time. The program I was on required no hay so that was a plus if short of hay
 
Interesting. I find myself wanting to go ahead and wean most of mine so I can move the cows down the valley to a place with grass. Been reading up some tonight on feeding 300 to 400 pound calves correctly.

What weights will you be weaning Brute?
 
Interesting. I find myself wanting to go ahead and wean most of mine so I can move the cows down the valley to a place with grass. Been reading up some tonight on feeding 300 to 400 pound calves correctly.

What weights will you be weaning Brute?
Wean a few days before moving cows or they will be hunting their babies.
 
Quite a few smaller operators are feeding salt limited pellets. Never have here but know it is successful.
I was reading about that. The creep the from the one place I mentioned was a pellet. I need to ask them about adding salt. That was my only concern on the pellet, being able to control how much hey eat.
 
I've done it a couple years now. Started creep feed ten days to two weeks before weaning,then put an accusation type feed in self feeder and weaned. Nice thing was even going through weather changes or blizzards they never went off feed. Calves would visit the feeder many times a day but only eat a couple mouthfuls at a time. The program I was on required no hay so that was a plus if short of hay
Thanks

Do you remember which feed it is? How big were the calves and do you remember roughly what they ate per day.
 
Interesting. I find myself wanting to go ahead and wean most of mine so I can move the cows down the valley to a place with grass. Been reading up some tonight on feeding 300 to 400 pound calves correctly.

What weights will you be weaning Brute?
Same here, looking at #3-400 this go around.

The calves bigger than that are getting sold. We don't really want to take the smaller ones, yet, but I don't want to take any chances on dragging the cows and pasture down be because we don't know what next year may have in store for us.

If we can hold them until the March, April, May time and get in the #450 range we will be doing good.
 
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Same here, looking at #3-400 this go around.

The calves bigger than that are getting sold. We don't really want to take the smaller ones, yet, but I don't want to take any chances on dragging the cows and pasture down be abuse we don't know what next year may have in store for us.

If we can hold them until the March, April, May time and get in the #450 range we will be doing good.
With the right pellet and hay you should get 2 lbs per day on light calves.
 
We hand feed 7-8# a day 14% commodity mix. Very little to no hay and they do fine. We do have a 3C creep feeder that can be loaded from a truck feeder. Think it holds a ton. You could limit them this way by just not feeding them but how much you want them to eat.
 
My buddy just pulled his off his cows and hauled em a few miles away to wheat pasture. I guess they'll wean there.

I'll try n remember to let ya know how it goes. Haven't heard anything yet. He did that Sunday.

Lots of folks put 3 wts to 4 wts straight on wheat pasture around here. I guess it works ok. Or there wouldn't be so many doing it maybe
 
We hand feed 7-8# a day 14% commodity mix. Very little to no hay and they do fine. We do have a 3C creep feeder that can be loaded from a truck feeder. Think it holds a ton. You could limit them this way by just not feeding them but how much you want them to eat.
Lucky we do the same thing. I bought a bunch of creep feeders when I started, found out real quick I couldn't afford to keep them full of feed. Now I have roadside feed bunks and a 3c feeder. I only feed when I'm preconditioning, when they go to grass in the spring they get a little cake twice a week.
 
I'm looking in to a better system for weaning/holding calves. We have a combination of drought, now freeze, and other things going on that would warrant weaning early or even kind of backgrounding to hold calves. Usually with heifers it's mainly hay and grass with small amounts of feed initially to help switch over. It is rarely on a large scale, or in these conditions. Labor has always been a big issue with feeding too much, especially daily.

My question is has any one had luck with any kind of free choice feed with limiters?

I'm talking to co-ops and mills in the area about different option. I'm getting recommendations all the way from creep feeds to accuration mixes.

So far I have a co-op offering either a creep feed or and 80/20 accuration mix, both are "their" mixes. I'm not sure about startling weaning calves out right on the acc. It seems like trying to transition from creep to acc could be tough. Both feeds are running about $0.19/lb that includes 4 ton feeders and they come out and refill them. They are going to send me labels on those next week.

Interested in suggestions or experiences with some thing like this, both good and bad.
i used accuration feed in my creep feed then in weening and then in my grower get 1100 to 1450 lb finished steers about 1000 lb heifers nothing better adjust each time u change from creep to finish i found this is the cheepest way cost more to feed but get a whole lot more in return. with 10 to year old calves eat all the hay they want and all the feed they want i get some heifers want to bowt never any bulls or steers. the best way i ever done it on 100 and more each year.
 
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Well, we got our little test group all separated off today. They delivered the feeder and feed. The calves are still in the pen for tonight. Plan is to work them in the am and turn them in to an adjoining trap with hay and the feeder for a week or two until they get settled in.

We were wondering how quick they would take to the feed so we hauled some molasses tubs of the feed to the pens and dumped it in the troughs. They went right to and started going to town. 😄 Glad that feeder has adjustable sides.
 
Last week we worked the calves and shot them with dewormer, triangle 10, and a multimin along with a some fly spray. We had a few smaller ones that hadn't been banded yet but were not able to get any kind of tetanus vacs. We usually do a Covexin 8 to get blackleg and tetanus at the same time. I ended up getting my hands on some now so we will run the back through next week and blackleg every thing, band the stragglers, and give them tetanus.

The recent rains really brought on some winter grass in the two little adjoining pastures. Noting is in them now so hopefully in a week or two, when we get done banding, they will have a little some thing for them to nip around on.

20240205_163258.jpg

This is the feed. It's suppose to be 14% protein 2% fat 18% fiber. It was cottonseed meal, rice hulls, corn and one or two more things. It's not a pellet like I originally thought.

20240205_163522.jpg
 
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We were going to try fence line weaning these calves by having their moms in the pasture beside the trap. The next day after we sorted them off they kind of split in to two groups. Some were already on the feed and getting after it and some were walking the fence bawling at momma. I got tired of hearing it so we took the cows to some other pastures about a mile in so the calves couldn't see or hear them the next morning. By after lunch, maybe 6hrs or so later, there was silence and the calves had all grouped up in to one herd. They were all feeding, then going to water, then laying down, then repeating.

I have never had good luck fence line weaning and this was another example. The younger side of the calves were mostly the ones walking the fence and they definitely assimilated faster once the momma cows were gone.
 

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